$3.6 Billion Wind Project Largest Economic Development in Iowa’s History FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Erin Lee for the Iowa City Gazette:MidAmerican Energy plans to add 1,000 wind turbines in Iowa, a project that the company says will cost $3.6 billion and move it closer to providing 100 percent renewable energy to its customers.MidAmerican CEO Bill Fehrman, joined by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and state economic development director Debi Durham, announced the proposed project Thursday at a news conference in a building at the base of a wind turbine at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.The project, which Branstad said would be the largest economic development project in Iowa’s history, must be approved by the state utilities board.Fehrman said the project would add 2,000 megawatts of wind energy in Iowa and will move the company to producing wind energy equal to 85 percent of annual customer sales. The project can be completed without additional cost to customers, as the entire $3.6 billion will be recouped through federal tax incentives over 10 years, Fehrman said.He said that if the state utilities board approves the project by this fall, construction will begin next year and the vast majority of the project will be completed in 2017 and 2018.Durham praised the proposal as “audacious.”“This announcement solidifies Iowa’s role in leading the nation in clean energy,” Durham said.More than 30 percent of Iowa’s electricity is generated by wind energy, the highest rate in the nation.MidAmerican plans $3.6 billion Iowa wind project
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Seeker:Years of efforts to nurture renewable energy have borne fruit dramatically in recent years, with wind and solar farms sprouting worldwide.That growth has largely overshadowed fossil fuels like coal, which is struggling in competitive electric markets against cheap, cleaner natural gas. But people who study the system say there’s a lot of potential that isn’t getting tapped, in the United States and abroad.“We’re not saturated in terms of the resource availability at all in any state,” Stanford University engineering professor Mark Jacobson told Seeker. “It’s just a question of deciding to deploy more.”Fossil fuels — coal and natural gas — still provide about two-thirds of the electricity Americans use. They’re cheap, but they produce carbon dioxide and other gases that have been building up in the atmosphere, driving global temperatures upward, and destabilizing Earth’s climate.By comparison, renewables other than long-established hydroelectric dams provided less than 7 percent of US electric power, and all but about 1 percent of that was from wind. But the numbers have been growing rapidly in recent years, buoyed by tax credits and state rules setting targets for renewable power. More than a quarter of new utility-scale generating capacity came from solar panels last year, with wind providing nearly a third. Small-scale rooftop solar panels on homes and businesses add about half of 1 percent.Jacobson has published a detailed but ambitious blueprint for converting the world to renewables by mid-century. Some of the Great Plains states are well along: Iowa and South Dakota generated more than 30 percent of their power from wind in 2016. Jacobson said there’s still huge amounts of wind power that can be harnessed in the Great Plains and off the coasts by wind turbines.Solar has the most technical potential in the southern United States, “but most of the country could tap into it,” said Bret Fanshaw, solar program coordinator at the advocacy group Environment America.A 2012 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, an arm of the Department of Energy, found large-scale solar projects in rural states could produce thousands of gigawatts more power than today, especially in the southern and Plains states. Rooftop solar panels could add hundreds of gigawatts more — not only in sunny states like Florida and California, but in the Great Lakes and Northeastern states as well.Meanwhile, wind turbines across the central United States and offshore in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico could yield nearly 15,000 more gigawatts, or dozens of times more electricity than what Americans consume today., the study found.The landscape is shifting even more dramatically toward renewables around the world. “Countries are taking a step back on coal,” David Schlissel, who directs resource planning analysis at the Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, told Seeker. “There are new coal plants being proposed and built, but they’re taking a step back on their plans for coal and moving toward renewables.”In August, the US financial giant JP Morgan Chase announced it was pouring $200 billion into clean energy between now and 2025 — and would power all its operations with renewables by 2020. The company’s offices total about 75 million square feet, the equivalent of 27 Empire State buildings. It’s also curtailed investment in coal, swearing off funding for new coal-fired plants in the developed world and limiting funds in the developing world to high-tech, cleaner generating units.But while other countries are moving toward wind and solar, Schlissel said, policies in the United States have lagged behind. Some public utilities have fought rooftop solar in the South, where their plants rely more heavily on coal. The Republican-led Trump administration is fighting market trends to revive the country’s moribund mines, while the bulk of the GOP now resists efforts to address carbon emissions — or calls the issue a hoax.“I don’t think politically we’re going get from where we are today in 20 years to full renewables,” Schlissel said. “I think the future is going to be consistently declining coal, though it won’t be a straight line down … and then the alternative is going to be a mixtures of renewables and natural gas.”More: Here Are the Best Places to Expand Renewable Energy in the US and Abroad Unrealized Potential in U.S. Renewables
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Insurance Business:Allianz has announced an update to its coal policy. The insurer had already excluded insurance for coal projects – specifically new coal plants and mines. With its updated policy, from 2023 on, Allianz will no longer provide property and casualty insurance to companies whose business model is based around coal and that do not have a clear phase-out plan.Allianz’s new policy will affect companies with a coal share of power production of 25% or more and a coal-fired capacity of at least 5GW. The policy will also affect coal-mining companies with a thermal coal share of revenue of 25% or above, or a total annual coal production of 50 million tons or more.With the new policy, Allianz is catching up to AXA on excluding coal, but has not quite equaled the other insurer, according to environmental non-profit Urgewald:“This step Allianz has taken is more proof of the fact that coal-centered business models have no future,” said Regine Richter, energy campaigner at Urgewald. “Two years ago, Allianz excluded project insurance for coal. However, companies with a massive coal share of revenue were still able to get coverage from Allianz. With its updated policy, the insurer is now closing this gaping loophole. While catching up, Allianz is, however, still not leading on coal exclusions.”[Ryan Smith]More: Allianz strengthens coal policy Allianz tightens coal policies, will no longer insure projects starting in 2023
Italian oil major Eni to restructure, creating ‘energy evolution’ unit to push green transition FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:Italian oil major Eni has announced a major restructuring that its chief executive describes as an “irreversible path” that will make the company a leader in the energy transition.The company will be split into two new business groups: “Energy Evolution” — focusing on power generation and the switch from fossil fuels to “bio, blue and green” — and “Natural Resources”, which will incorporate its oil & gas activities, including carbon capture and storage (CCS).“This new structure reflects Eni’s pivot to the energy transition; an irreversible path that will make us leaders in decarbonised energy products.,” said chief executive Claudio Descalzi.In late February, Descalzi announced plans for Eni to build 55GW of renewable energy projects by 2050 and reduce the emissions of its products by 80% by the same year, which he said would keep it in line with the Paris Agreement. The company already builds its own wind and solar projects.“Energy Evolution will focus on the evolution of the businesses of power generation, transformation and marketing of products from fossil to bio, blue and green,” Eni said in a statement, presumably referring to “blue hydrogen” produced from natural gas with CCS. “In particular, it will focus on growing power generation from renewable energy and biomethane, it will coordinate the bio and circular evolution of the company’s refining system and chemical business, and it will further develop Eni’s retail portfolio, providing increasingly more decarbonised products for mobility, household consumption and small enterprises.”The new company structure is expected to be implemented “over the coming weeks”, with Eni saying chief financial officer Massimo Mondazzi will leave his role on 1 August to head up the Energy Evolution business.[Leigh Collins and Eoin O’Cinneide]More: Oil giant Eni to restructure as it embarks on ‘irreversible path’ to be an energy transition leader
Biggest wind farm in Western Australia begins sending power to the grid FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:The biggest wind farm in Western Australia – the 212MW Yandin wind farm – has completed electrification and has delivered its first output to the state’s grid, known as the South West Integrated System (SWIS).The Yandin Wind farm is a joint venture between Ratch Australia and Alinta Energy, and the investment is being managed by Alinta, and is located near the town of Dandaragan, about 175kms north of Perth.The “electrification”, or connection to the Western Power network, through a new 330kV terminal and 10km transmission line, was revealed by contracting company Decmil, which had the $79 million contract to complete the civil and electrical design and construction, including wind turbine bases, access tracks, site cabling, switch room and substation.The first 34 of the 51 4.2MW Vestas turbines have been installed, and a spokesman for Alinta told Renew Economy that the first generation from the $400 million wind farm occurred on July 12. Production is planned to continue to ramp up until full production is reached later in the year.The Yandin wind farm will not just be the biggest in the state, it will also be one of the most efficient and lowest cost in the country. It is expected to deliver an average capacity factor of around 50 per cent, and Alinta CEO Jeff Dimery told Renew Economy’s Energy Insiders podcast last year that its cost will be well below $50/MWh.“I can tell you that the levellised cost of energy coming out of that plant is in the mid to high 40s (per megawatt hour) before firming,” Dimery told the Energy Insiders podcast.[Giles Parkinson]More: West Australia’s biggest wind farm energised, delivers first output
Swiss firm Leclanché begins construction of largest solar-plus-storage project in the Caribbean FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:Swiss energy storage company Leclanché has broken ground on a US$70 million solar and storage microgrid project in St Kitts and Nevis.The system will include a 35.7MW solar farm and a 14.8MW lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS), and will provide state-owned utility St Kitts Electric Company (SKELEC) with roughly a third (30%-35%) of the island’s energy supply. Leclanché claims it will be the Caribbean’s largest solar-plus storage project on completion, and will eliminate 41,500 metric tonnes of carbon emissions in its first year.Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, said the build is a “significant milestone” for the region, which will help the island to create a more independent energy market and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.The solar farm will stand on disused agricultural land that had been used for sugar cane production near the capital Basseterre. Leclanché secured a 20-year lease on the land last year, and SKELEC signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with the firm in exchange. Leclanché CEO Anil Srivastava said at the time the build “sends a strong signal to other Caribbean countries…that there is a cleaner, more cost-efficient and viable alternative to diesel power.”The announcement comes exactly one year after a group of Caribbean and Latin American states, including the Dominican Republic and Haiti, committed to ensure an average 70% of installed energy capacity comes from renewable sources by 2030.[Edith Hancock]More: Caribbean’s largest solar-plus-storage project under way
Photo courtesy of Molly at Wilderness AdventureIt’s that time of year, where the night presides earlier and earlier and the bonfires become essential. With everyone crammed close to the burning logs, hot drinks and wide-eyed, it’s the time of year for ghost stories. To not have a good ghost story ready at hand in these situations is like forgetting to bring the graham crackers. So take some time, think of your own Appalachian horror story, and in the mean time you can borrow mine; a true account of my encounter with an Appalachian Trail Ghost. But remember as you re-tell it with your own twists, the devil is in the details:It’s taken some time for me to even process the events in my own head, but just of lately I’ve been able to think about this weird thing that happened to me on trail sometime late August or Early September. I had a random week off of work, and keeping a busy schedule I felt it was a rarity. I was getting a little restless and knew that I had to blow off some stress for a bit and explore the great outdoors. On the account that I was so ready for a vacation, and no one else’s schedule matched up for an adventure week, I decided to go at it solo and backpack alone for a week.It had been years since I last backpacked by alone and for some reason I had convinced myself I once enjoyed it. But when I dropped my car at the trailhead in Catawba (about 15 miles from New Castle) and started hiking I noticed the different atmosphere backpacking alone provides. I couldn’t shake how incredibly silent it was. I could hear my own breathing and every now and then I would look over my shoulder quickly in response to random noises. I was almost anxious to begin with but told myself I had to just get used to this new aspect of backpacking that I wasn’t accustomed to.The first night I managed to set up camp, make dinner, and immediately retire to my tent. I was unusually exhausted which now seems as a surprise for the little of sleep I got that night. I tossed and turned, listening to the silent night until late morning when I finally rested my eyes. Well after daybreak I got out of my tent and drug my feet to pack my belongings, it was much later then I had aimed for the night before.I made it about 5 miles during the day, but it took me the entire afternoon until dark. I was tired and it seemed without having someone to push me along my hiking was considerably slower. I pitched my tent that night, filtered water, and started setting up my cook gear in the dark. It was getting to feel pretty late, and with limited light to cook under, I decided to just eat a pack of raw ramen noodles in my tent. I opened my book to read but only fell asleep immediately into another half sleep/half wrestling match for the night.I remember at one point staring at the top of my darkened tent not really sure if I was awake or not and suddenly hearing the loud crunch of footsteps outside my tent. They were fast going as they came but with the footsteps came something of a grumble. I couldn’t be actually sure, and I couldn’t distinguish any actual words, but in my mind’s eye I was sure I heard something grumbling to themselves in a deep and agitated voice.Photo courtesy of Molly at Wilderness AdventureI never even got out of my sleeping bag. Not inexperienced with some of the sounds of night and their magnification in the silence, I tried to convince myself it was my ears playing tricks on me. And although I managed to stay in my sleeping bag that night, I didn’t fall asleep again until early morning.The next day I awoke up even later and more tired than before. I made a groggy attempt at oatmeal and sat with my breakfast unable to talk to anyone. I got my pack ready in the afternoon sun and headed out. About three and a half miles later I dropped my pack and sat watching the sun begin to disappear.I managed to collect a fair amount of firewood and by the time nightfall came I had a small fire going with a good collection of fire-wood piled beneath me. Under the reassuring light of the campfire, I started to become more at ease with the deafening silence of nature. I pulled a cigarette from my pocket and enjoyed a casual smoke as I put my feet up. When I tried to ditch the butt in my weakening flame, my throw was off and I landed it outside of the ashes. I got up to fix my mistake and to stoke the fire when I turned around to go back to my seat and I saw him…The light was low with my little fire, but I could clearly see a man reaching down with a scorched hand for my firewood. He wore red plaid with large black burns tearing at his trim and a red ashy beard that smoldered at this face. He quickly looked up and his vacant white eyes connected with mine. He gritted his teeth and scrunched his nose towards me before quickly leaving the ring of firelight.I was shocked. I have never experienced a fear like it. I fell right onto my butt next to the flames. I looked out into the forest and saw nothing but dark shadows and unclear objects, a blank wall of nothing, of everything; I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t even yell, with no one to hear me but him, so I did what every red-blooded American would do; I packed up my things and got the hell out of Dodge.Photo courtesy of Molly at Wilderness AdventureI stumbled through the darkness, half the time with my headlamp off afraid to be seen, or even of seeing anything else. I stumbled around for hours, bumping into trees and tripping every which way. I wasn’t even sure where my map and compass was, I just kept moving. I could have been hiking in circles for all I know. I was driven by my beating heart and to this day I know I have never been so scared in my life. When dawn finally broke and I could see again, I kept moving.At about 12:30 I started to recognize some signs of civilization. I threw my pack down in a big open pasture but couldn’t see any houses or roads. I knew I had to be close to something, but I was by no means sure where I had ended up. I was almost too tired to think about it. Instead in a fit of not knowing what to do, but knowing I had to do something, I pitched my tent and ate a large chunk of cheese and salami. After the meal, and under the afternoon sun, I almost immediately fell asleep in the grass where I ate my lunch.I awoke two to the three hours later, for the sun had dropped down considerably, and a funny smell filled my nostrils. I blinked a few times and when the funny smell persisted I shot off my back with my heart beating to the sound of something troubling. What I saw was my tent, or what remained of my tent. For now the only thing left standing was the tent poles that dripped with oozing leftovers of my tent body. A bubbly layer of melted green plastic lay beneath the poles with a steady gray smoke still rising from the mess. I got up and felt the weight of the sky fall on my head. For a moment I was sure I had woken up into a horrible nightmare. Without contemplating it much further I grabbed my water bottle and ran through the empty pasture.By the time I made it to the gravel road I was out of breath and dripping with sweat. I hastily chugged from my water bottle and wiped my mouth. Down the road I could see a vehicle parked in the dust. I staggered forward with my hands on my sides and soon realized it was a sheriff’s sedan, and for the first time in a long time, I couldn’t have been happier to see a law enforcement vehicle.When I got closer to the vehicle I noticed that it was parked outside of the remains of a charred house, nothing left standing but the mailbox out front. On the way into town I didn’t tell the officer about my experience being afraid that he might think I escaped from the loony bin and instead asked him about the burnt down house he had been parked in front of.The sheriff explained to me that four days prior, the same day I started my trip, the house had burnt down. They had no known cause but there was indication of arson. Two daughters, a wife, and her husband where all in the house when the fire started and none of them made it out. Real tragic stuff the sheriff said as he retold the story and I could only shake my head with my bottom jaw hanging low.Go out, scare some fun into the night, and don’t forget the ghost stories.-Brad
Our friend, loyal reader, and ultra-runner Brandon Thrower produced this video on the upcoming Table Rock Ultras in the Linville Gorge, North Carolina.
Photos by Jilli BethanyMagnets are polarizing in their ability to attract and repel. Mostly they attract but it isn’t easy to explain how they come about their allure.Dr. Allen Lim, the personality and scientist behind the drink mix Skratch Labs and famous nutritionist and coach to cyclists both clean and dirty, is a magnet.He mostly attracts, although he’s had his fair share of repels as well, and his charisma is such that it leaves some wondering just what they like so much about the guy.Spending time around Lim is an honor and a treat – especially if you love cycling stories and geeky stuff like chatting about the salt content of energy drinks. While Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong may have sought him out for his expertise in integrative physiology (in fact, Lim helped pioneer some of the science behind the energy one generates on a bike, which is why he was first set up with Landis through a Power Tap connection) it is easy to see how they wanted to continue with Dr. Lim because of his sheer entertainment and reassuring continence.He’s the kind of guy who will take the time to share his informed opinion and explain exactly why he is advising you that way, doing so in plain language or, if it requires some hard science, a clear manner that includes colorful similes and metaphors. And, he’ll have you in stitches due to the heavy dose of humor that is sure to accompany the explication.Lim is also known for his partnership with chef Biju Thomas and their “Feed Zone” and “Feed Zone Portables” cookbooks. Both authors have strong backgrounds in science and food preparation but as much as their nutritional advice is about better fuel for achieving maximum athletic performance, it really boils down to preparing good food with care and as few ingredients as possible. And that is the story of Skratch Labs, short and sweet.The often-misperceived Lim is a first-generation Chinese American who was born in the Philippines and raised in California, where he became enamored with cycling at a young age. Part of Lim’s focus on pure food may come from his past connections to admitted dopers. While that doesn’t strike one as savory as a Feed Zone sushi rice and soy sauce portable, the facts are otherwise: Lim was actually involved in the early days of forming the biological passport to stop dopers of all sports and helped Team Garmin to some of their success as the team known for its clean riding.And just as Skratch Labs is Lim’s way of giving the finger to sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade, his sense of irreverence thrives. It comes out in the fact that he started his company from scratch, and that Skratch Labs has turned down offers from larger companies looking to acquire such an attractive young and sexy company.Lim is more intrigued by what he can do, both personally and as a business owner. He likes to have fun, to learn, to ride bikes, take naps, to share and to pursue innovation.And, as you can probably tell, he has quite the sense of style and flare; which, of course, is a big part of his (surprisingly unattached) magnetism.
When you were young, where did your priorities lie? Finding prom dates? Thursday pep rallies? Homework? How about stomping class-V rapids and landing backflips on your snowboard? For these five up-and-coming adventurers, that’s precisely what they spend their free time doing.Evan SwettCharlottesville, VaFace it—wintertime in these parts isn’t the most conducive to giving diehard powder hounds a six-month season, but that’s not to say the next Shaun White isn’t ripping up the East as we speak. Virginia-born and raised Evan Swett is the next generation of freestyle snowboarding. With Wintergreen Resort in his backyard, Swett offsets the short and mild winters by heading an hour south to train on the faux-snow features at Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center. To Swett, every day is a training day.“My favorite trick is a backflip with a tail grab,” Swett says. “I have a signature grab—I call it the suitcase method.” It’s like a regular grab but you reach around completely to the opposite side of the board so it looks like you’re holding a suitcase.”Execution of the suitcase method looks much like its name might suggest, as if Swett were casually sailing through the air carrying his board at his side like a suitcase. In just five years of riding, this innovative young ripper regularly stakes his rightful spot at the podium in the local rail jams. He’s quickly on his way to becoming one of the best riders on Wintergreen’s Freeride Team, but for Swett, competition comes second.“I learned that it’s not all about competition and winning,” Swett says. “It’s about being around your friends and having a fun time you can remember.”Swett has been invited twice to Copper Mountain to compete in Nationals, beating out nearly half of the other competitors both years in a row. He’s a reserve snowboard athlete in the Monster Energy Army and, when he’s not hitting the books, you can bet he’s on the slopes or in the park practicing his moves.“I just want to keep on snowboarding,” Swett says. “My parents are pretty supportive. They let me do whatever I want.”That is, within reason. School is still a priority, and academics can prove particularly demanding at times. Swett’s a hard worker, though, and even the short winters, unrelenting schoolwork, and sprained ankle he sustained two years ago can’t stand up to the passion he has for improving his riding.“You’re spending the entire season getting ready for these two runs that you’re going to take,” Swett says in reference to his time at Nationals. “There’s a lot on your shoulders when you’re sitting at the top looking down and planning your run. My coaches taught me just to close my eyes and imagine my entire run, going through all of the features and being in the air, and imagine my face at the bottom, smiling, knowing I did well.”So far, it seems, that technique has worked. Let’s see where his imagination will take him next.Cred: Taylor CoferDylan McKinneyAsheville, NCA day in the life of most high schoolers typically involves a lot of classroom time, maybe some afterschool team practice, and hours upon hours of homework. For the most part, that’s exactly what 20-year-old Dylan McKinney’s high school years were like, except for one key difference: he started his day off with a lap down the Green River Narrows.“I was pretty much always late,” McKinney says. “The Green was 30 minutes from my high school, so I found that if I dawn patrolled the Narrows, I’d be on time.”McKinney started kayaking when he was 15 years old, a decision he made after a number of snowboarding, skateboarding, and skiing injuries led to an arthroscopic knee surgery.“The recovery time was six to 12 months,” McKinney remembers. “The snow that year in the Southeast was really incredible and it just sucked sitting around.”At the suggestion of his friend, McKinney decided to do something about that boredom and attended a local roll clinic. Little did he know that that decision would change the course of his life. Within the first year of his paddling career, McKinney was already firing up class IV-V runs, from the Watauga River to the Green River Narrows. He progressed quickly, perhaps too quickly (as he’ll be the first to admit), but he found something in kayaking he had yet to find in any other sport.“The way I feel when I’m paddling doesn’t really compare to anything else,” he says. “It kinda relieves all this stress.”To McKinney, “stress” isn’t what he feels when he’s about to plunge over the lip of a 90-foot waterfall like Metlako Falls in Oregon. It’s not even what he feels when he’s getting pummeled at the bottom of Boxcar on the North Fork of the French Broad and on the verge of drowning. Stress for this 20-year-old looks much like the stress of any college junior. Between studying for tests, writing papers, and figuring out life (aka girls), kayaking is where McKinney finds peace, challenge, and thrill all wrapped up into one adrenaline-packed enchilada.“For me, I want to see myself getting competitive and really pushing myself, whether it’s in races or running big drops,” he says, “but I also just want to have fun and not let being competitive ruin it. The whole reason I started kayaking was to have fun and I want to stay true to those roots.”McKinney is a paddler for Pyranha Kayaks and is also sponsored by Werner Paddles and Astral Designs. He is currently in his third year of nursing school at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., and plans to “somehow fund a year of traveling around the world” after college. And yes, those travels will likely involve hucking waterfalls and running stouts.Rowan StuartRobbinsville, NCThough dominated by males, the adventure world has its fair share of powerful ladies who can easily out-shred the guys in their sport. Rowan Stuart is one of those gals. A freestyle kayaker from western North Carolina, she’s been on the water giving the guys a run for their money (her father and brother included) since she was ten years old.“We’re pretty lucky if we get enough junior girls to make a prelim and finals round,” Stuart says of her category. “More than five is a lot.”Stuart just turned 18 this past year, though, so the slim number of junior competitors won’t be such an issue in 2015—in fact, she’ll have plenty of professional women kayakers to go up against, like her own hero, Adriene Levknecht.Stuart’s racked up quite an impressive paddling résumé in less than a decade of kayaking – from winning the Junior Women’s K1 division in the 2013 ICF World Freestyle Championships in Bryson City, N.C., to taking the gold again in her category at the 2014 World Cup in Spain (and a host of other podium titles at world-renowned events like the Payette River Games and GoPro Mountain Games). She’s paddled most of the classics in the Southeast and a number of reputable runs out West like the Green Truss in Washington and Homestake Creek in Colorado.She’s fearless and funny, the perfect combination of sweet and strong, and when she’s not adjusting to a new life of dorm rooms and meal swipes (ah, the life of a college freshman), she’s hitching a ride to a kayaking event, even if that means driving 13 hours to the Moose River in New York.“I’m not one of those people who want to scare themselves out of their minds,” Stuart says. “Somehow, I still do it but I keep kayaking anyway. I don’t know why I kayak really, but that’s not it.”Though Stuart’s forte is playboating, she is quickly proving her might on some of the toughest creeks in the Southeast like the Russell Fork Gorge and Green River Narrows. Stuart paddles for Pyranha Kayaks and is also sponsored by Werner Paddles, Astral Designs, Shred Ready, Immersion Research, and Rapid Straps. She is currently studying psychology at the University of North Carolina in Asheville, N.C., and says her life comprises, mainly, of four actions.“Read, sleep, eat, and kayak.”Of course, not in that order.Isaac HullRichmond, VaAt an age when most kids are lucky just to survive the trials and tribulations of preteen-dom, 12-year-old Isaac Hull is occupied with anxieties of a different sort.To boof or not to boof? Phonix Monkey or McNasty? Paddle before or after school? Or both? If you couldn’t guess, kayaking is Isaac Hull’s bread and butter. With the class II-III James River just a short 10-minute drive from his parents’ home in Richmond, Hull has spent the past 4½ years of his life dedicated to his passion for whitewater.“A lot of people want to get into kayaking, but their parents can’t take them or they can’t find a ride,” Hull says of his own age group. “I’m really lucky to have my dad.”Hull’s father, Chris, has paddled for over 30 years and was Hull’s biggest advocate for going big with kayaking. Together, the two of them knocked off all of the local runs like the class III-IV Maury River and the class V North Fork of the Tye. Hull has since racked up some personal first descents down a few of the more reputable runs in the Southeast like the Upper Gauley and the Green River Narrows.Hull’s a well-rounded paddler, though, firing up more than just steep creeks and big volume rivers. Last year, he placed 4th in the Upper Yough downriver race and claimed 5th place at Dominion Riverrock’s freestyle competition on his home river. He’s a sponsored kayaker for Dagger Kayaks, Adventure Technology Paddles, and Sweet Production helmets and regularly paddles on the weekends with some of the region’s top whitewater paddlers. Yet despite this apparently natural and rapid progression, Hull says he’s in no rush.“My dad always said, ‘don’t push your limits.’ You can’t have people telling you all the time, ‘I think you can do this,’” he says. “You have to know that line and be confident that you can do it.”The confidence Hull has gained from the cockpit of his boat provides him with a levelheaded coolness that most of his peers likely won’t achieve for another decade. He’s ahead of the game no doubt, but despite paddling more days a week after school than going to lacrosse practice, Hull takes a very mature and realistic approach to making a living as a kayaker.“I definitely want to go to college,” he says. “Kayaking is a short term thing. You can’t do pro kayaking all your life. Chris Gragtmans is a good example of someone who has a steady job, who’s not just a pro kayaker, but is also going out and living the life.”From playboating to creek boating and river running, Hull does it all. When school’s out for summer, he cross-trains by swimming on the local swim team with his friends. He’s naturally athletic and down-to-earth, but at heart, he’s still a kid with big ideas about the future.“There’s not really a limit to what you can do,” Hull says. “You can always explore new things and do new tricks. That’s what I love about kayaking.”Adam HombergOakland, MdAdam Homberg’s life is adventure. Sure, maybe he’s only 15 and can’t drive himself to the put-in, but it doesn’t matter when you’re the type of person who feels more at home in the woods than between four walls — you’ll find a way.“My family’s always been around the outdoors,” Homberg says. “My Dad used to be on the U.S. slalom kayaking team,” which would explain why kayaking is one of Homberg’s passions.With the Adventure Sports Center International (ASCI) and quality runs like the top and upper sections of the Youghiogheny River out his backdoor, if Homberg’s not in school, he’s on the water.“My dad is one of my favorite people to go kayaking with,” Homberg says. “He told me to never give up. I used to get really mad when I couldn’t do something, but he helped me progress.”And progress he did. Homberg is now a sponsored paddler for Pyranha Kayaks, Astral Designs, Immersion Research, Adventure Technology Paddles, and Demshitz. It’s safe to say that a day in the life of this kid usually involves more hours in the cockpit of his kayak than anywhere else. Unless, that is, the rivers aren’t running. So what’s a guy to do when the water dries up? For Homberg, he’ll take anything on a board. Wakeboarding, longboarding, snowboarding—really it’s just a matter of the weather.“I like longboarding,” Homberg says, “just to go out and cruise. It feels like snowboarding.”Though he is sponsored by Palo Mesa Longboards, his real love of riding shines through in his pursuit of freestyle snowboarding. He’s a regular at the local competitions, from the annual Motown Throwdown to the rail jams at Seven Springs and Wisp Resort. When you see Homberg’s name on the list of competitors, you can bet he’ll be bringing the heat. Homberg’s a natural athlete, an all-around outdoorsman, but he’s also a straight-A-student and a key member of the high school soccer team.“You have to be a good team player and be there for people,” Homberg says. “I like how both kayaking and freestyle snowboarding are individual sports. I like team sports too, but I like pushing myself on my own schedule and doing my own things to progress.”From the notoriously dangerous Upper Blackwater River to the Upper Gauley, Homberg has stepped up his kayaking game in recent years. Between kayaking, snowboarding, and longboarding, Homberg is comfortably walking around the halls of high school with 10 sponsors backing him already. Despite this, he says that brand endorsement was never what did it for him.“I don’t care if I go mega-pro,” he says. “I just want to go out and have a good time with my friends. I definitely want to keep snowboarding and kayaking, but I’m thinking about going into business and marketing in college.”Homberg’s snowboarding sponsors include Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate, 686, Thirtytwo, and Shred Soles. If you’re wondering how Homberg gets enough fuel to keep up with maintaining straight As, kayaking the gnar, and throwing down front blunts at the park, you’ll find the answer between two pieces of bread. Egg sandwich. Hold the cheese. •